Thursday, August 27, 2009

As if on cue...

Just as the make-ready on the Studio is winding down (photos coming very soon), a great opportunity has presented itself...! I was just wondering (OK, fretting) out loud on this post about not having a clue as to what to do with all of this...

...and this...

...and this...

...and this...

...well, now I know what we are going to do!

This past Saturday, Hubby and I paid a visit to the new home of Whispering Willow Gifts and Antiques (you may recall, that was the shop in which we had vendor space last Summer...but it closed early in October after sustaining damage from Hurricane Ike). The owner and many of the vendors regrouped and opened a new shop in nearby Tomball, Texas with MUCH better exposure and MUCH greater traffic. But, during that time, I was just finding out about my corporate job being outsourced, and our whole focus necessarily shifted to downsizing - rehabbing the mobile home, leasing our home, etc, and there was just no way to be able to carry on effectively in the new shop...there was just no time.

Sometime last Spring I stopped in at the new shop to say hi and I heard that business was brisk and that they had a waiting list now for vendors. I was happy for them, but it just was not time yet to pursue shopkeeping again...I was fully focused on illustration and we were still knee deep in remodeling.

Well, now, as if on cue (illustration work going well, Studio rehab winding down, mobile home restoration virtually complete), a SWEET spot in the FRONT room of the new shop is coming available October 1st and we are IN!! Goodness, we are just so excited!! I met with the owner today and we discussed the space and all the particulars (price is very reasonable...just a bit more than what we have been paying at our storage there are just 2 workdays per month required, which I can now easily do since I don't have a "day job")...I left a deposit, so we are a GO!! She was so very sweet and told me how excited they were that we were ready to shopkeep again and how much they liked our merchandise, etc. I was so humbled and happy to hear that...

SO, we have the direction from the Lord that we had prayed for...thank YOU Lord!! I truly did not know what to do with all the stuff we had...there were a number of possibilities, but none of which seemed the right path. But now, for reasons only the Lord know fully, we are stepping on to THIS path by faith and with great peace and joy! We can't wait!!

Needless to say, September is going to be a BUSY time around here as we finalize the Studio, unpack all the goodies that have been packed away since last year, sort, fix, shabby and fouf it all, price and inventory it all, and pack it back up for moving to the shop..whew!! But it's going to be so much fun!! I will be sharing photos and updates of all of this as we go! I hope you'll follow along the path with us!!


"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Living Water: Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Update

Hello Friends!
It's been over a year since I participated in the Siesta Fiesta Cookbook Cover Contest, and I thought I would share a little update on what has happened with the cookbook sales since then. What you may not know or recall is that all the proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks (above the printing cost) went to building of water wells through the Water for Life Outreach. I was blessed to meet sweet Holly at Crown Laid Down through the contest - she was the visionary who put the cookbook together...she did an awesome job; it is a beautiful, creative cookbook brimming with 328 pages of awesome recipes from women all over the country. According to Holly's SF Cookbook page, she has sold 650 books so far and sent a total of $2,709.64 to build clean water wells!! Yeah God!!
I wanted you to know that you can still order these cookbooks for just $18 plus shipping - just click here or on the SF Cookbook image on the top of my sidebar for more information. They would make an awesome Christmas gift!! Best of all, you will be supporting the building of clean water wells where they are so desperately needed!!
I got the idea to do this post a couple of weeks ago whe I received the following Daily Prayer for You in my inbox. I trust it will challenge and bless you...


"If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Matthew 10:42 (NIV)

"A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25 (NIV)

Thank you Lord, for everything you have entrusted to our care on this earth. Help us to give generously to those in need, and to be sensitive today to those who need a gesture of love and care. Especially to those who are tired and thirsty and in need of a drink of your living water! May the weary be refreshed and the faint satisfied as we extend our hearts in love to others, giving to those in need as you direct (Jeremiah 31: 25). I pray Lord, you would refresh those who refresh others today. Prosper them God, and meet all their needs according to your glorious riches in Christ Jesus! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Week in Review

Hello friends!

It has been a busy week around here...sorry for being away for the better part of it. I really needed to get a new digital kit finished for my Digital Boutique, which I just did yesterday - hurray!! It's a little Fall mini clipart kit called "Happy Fall Y'all" featuring a couple of frolicking mice (see one of them above) and several cute Fall sticker-doodles and rich background papers in coordinating Fall colors. This is a great jump start for Fall crafting, card making and scrabooking!

In addition to working on the kit, sweet hubby was hard at work on the usual. One of the steps I forgot about when I was figuring how long it would take to finish was adding rafters for the ceiling. This was quite a job, but he got it all done as well as 75% of the paneling - so, we are really getting closer now to the finish line!

I did manage to pick out a creamy-buttery yellow paint color for the's called "Song of Summer" and it's the foremost right one in the photo below (BTW, this photo does NOT do this color justice - it is not nearly so dull looking as the this photo makes it out to be)...

Even so, I would love to do a brighter yellow, but all that reflective light and energy from a bright color is not good for doing artwork. Hopefully this tamer soft yellow will provide that touch of color that I crave, but be easy on my artist eyes. We'll know how it goes when you roll on're never quite sure how it will look on your walls and how it will react to the room's light...

Oh yeah, this is a little tease for an upcoming craft/creative storage project I plan to do for the Studio - these 7 cans were a freebie from Craigslist...I saw the ad while perusing the free section of Houston's Craigslist and I instantly had an idea for what to do with them...

And when I saw that they were close by and not clear across Houston, I knew I had to have them. Turns out, they were less than a mile from where we live and the sweet gal who had them met me at a gas station between our homes...1 minute from my house. It was just too easy-peasy - meant to be! Stay tuned for the transformation!

As I mentioned on my last post, with all the busy-ness around here, we needed a little away time, so Johnny and I headed to Sugarland to attend a concert featuring Phillips, Craig, and Dean and Christy Nockels too (fabulous concert BTW!!!). Because of the long drive, we got a hotel and spent the night down there - WOW, what a great little getaway it was!! It was a wonderful, relaxing 24 hours, and it recharged our batteries for a good while. I highly recommend squeezing these kinds of little low-cost, high-impact excursions into your busy was time and money well spent!

I thought I would leave you with one of my most favorite songs by Phillips, Craig & Dean - "Revelation Song"'s one of the top hits on Christian radio right now and let me tell you, it brought the house down when they sang it in powerfully beautiful!! This is a video someone put together with film clips from several movies about Jesus...I like it because it includes the lyrics with the video. Please note - there are a couple of scenes from "The Passion" that are fairly intense of Jesus being nailed to the cross near the end...just want you to be aware they're in there...

I pray you have a blessed rest-of-the-week! Thank you as always for stopping by. Hey, if you haven't already, I'd love for you to follow along the Just Bee 'n Me journey by clicking my new "Follower" link in the right makes it easy to see if I have a new post... Thanks friends!!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Princess Principles

Hello Friends!
Well, I persevered through the technical difficulties I mentioned yesterday and I am so happy to *finally* share something with you that I have been wanting to do for FOREVER - this is what I'm calling an "e-Devotional" for women based on an article/devotional that I wrote several years ago when I led a women's ministry in Colorado. It's called "The Princess Principles". The premise of the devotional (based completely on Scripture) is that believers (our Sisters in Christ specifically) are indeed Daughters of the King, and thereby Princesses. It touches on my own personal struggle with that concept, then goes on to present four timeless principles that support, define and direct us in our role as Daughters of the King. It is NOT heavy-duty reading...I am NOT a theologian by any means...I'm just sharing from my heart what I feel the Lord has taught me in this area.

I had a great time putting it together - but I am definitely still learning about all the technical aspects of making a PowerPoint into a video, putting the video on YouTube, etc. I timed the slides to hopefully not go too fast or too slow, but either way, you can use the pause button to stop it and the progress bar to speed it up. There is no music to go along with it...I found music to be fairly distracting while reading it, so I opted to leave music out of it this time. If you'd like to see it in full screen mode, you can click the next to the last icon on the bottom of the video screen.
I hope you'll take a moment to read it if you have the chance, and I would love to get some feedback through comments if you have anything to share about it. Mostly I pray it is a blessing to someone who, like me, has perhaps struggled with the concept of being a beloved daughter of the King...

Have a great weekend y'all - see you when we return from our little 24 hour getaway!!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Technical Difficulties (CAUTION: Rant Alert)

Ever get the feeling that you are supposed to just unplug and get away from technology for a while...? I'm starting to get that feeling I think. The last few days have

First of all, I cannot get certain image files to behave on what was to be my latest clip art kit for my Digital Boutique...and it is going to be so cute y'all, but I can't proceed until I get the problem resolved.

SO, I stepped away from that project, and thought to myself, "OK, I guess I can share the latest photos of the studio progress, plus a picture of an upcoming craft project." WRONG! - I can't for the life of me find the cord that I use to hook up between my camera and the computer to download the photos. RATS!

Once I stepped away from the clip art and the photos, I was convinced that I needed to concentrate on something that has been on my heart for quite some time...and I have...for the last several days, I have worked on and completed my first "e-Devotional" called "The Princess Principles." It's basically an article/devotional that I wrote several years ago put into PowerPoint format. I had a lot of fun designing/creating the backgrounds and the cover art and putting it all together with the text. Once I was done, I converted the PowerPoint to a video using an cool free online service I found - that way I would easily be able to share it here and on YouTube. Alas, the video conversion had, you guessed it, technical difficulties! ARGH! The fonts that I used all came out wrong on the video version so that the text is too large on most of the slides and makes it very hard to read. HELP!

SO, like I said, I think I just need to unplug for a day or two. But in the meantime, I will share with you the cover art for the e-Devotional...

I believe I know a fairly simple way to fix the fonts that won't take too much re-working, and I sincerely hope to have it re-uploaded and ready to show you sometime tomorrow or early Friday....

After that we really are unplugging and Friday afternoon we will take the long, long journey to the far Southwest side of Houston for A Phillips, Craig, & Dean concert - Christy Nockels of Watermark will be there too!! I'm excited!! Because it's a really long drive (I'm not exaggerating), we decided to get a hotel room near the concert venue and spend the night Friday night. I'm really looking forward to a bit of a break, and sweet hubby really needs a break from the Studio work too... Ahhhh, sounds like bliss to me...

Now if we can just manage to not have car trouble... ;o)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Power of Music

Hello friends,

Sometimes, there is nothing more powerful than music to reach our hearts...when that music is steeped in the Word and delivered with anointing, it is an incredible tool for ushering us into His Presence, where we can freely pour out our hearts in pain and in joy, in doubt and in resolve... I pray these two songs, both by Natalie Grant, will pull back the veil and encourage you to fall at His feet with whatever is on your heart, and to pour it out to Him freely as a sacrifice...


Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

If hope is born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior

This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held
We'd be held

This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

This is what it means to be held.....


I have been the wayward child
I have acted out
I have questioned Sovereignty
And had my share of doubt
And though sometimes my prayers feel like
They're bouncing off the sky
The hand I hold won't let me go
And is the reason why...

I will stumble
I will fall down
But I will not be moved
I will make mistakes
I will face heartache
But I will not be moved
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
I will not be moved

Bitterness has plagued my heart
Many times before
My life has been like broken glass
And I have kept the score
Of all my shattered dreams and though it seemed
That I was far too gone
My brokenness helped me to see
It's grace I'm standing on


And the chaos in my life
Has been a badge I've worn
Though I have been torn
I will not be moved


He longs for you to come to Him...healing, wholeness, and freedom await you in His Presence.
He loves you so very much!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Studio Inspiration

(click any image to see details)
for my Studio
The collage I created above is like a digital inspiration board for the studio - snippets of things I love, colors that speak to me, items I've crafted, images that make me smile. As I've pondered the next steps with the Studio, my mind has (naturally) raced ahead to how I will decorate it. Let me begin the decorating discussion with a disclaimer:
I have eclectic tastes...there, I said it. I love bright colors. I love pastel colors. I love neutrals. And on any given day I can declare one as my most favorite of all, and the next day declare just the opposite... I drive myself crazy sometimes...
Here's the definition of eclectic:
1. selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles;
2. composed of elements drawn from various sources
Yep, that about sums it up. The best term I have come up with to describe my eclectic "style" is Colorful/Whimsical Cottage...kinda like if Mary Engelbreit, Rachel Ashwell, and the editors of Romantic Home, Victoria, Country Living, and Romantic Country magazines all ran into each other, spilling all their designs, illustrations, samples, paints, photos, and fabric swatches into one gloriously diverse, colorful, fun pile of decorating bliss...
I know I am not alone in my decorating schizophrenia...I know you are out there too!
The only "method" I have devised to "manage" my eclectic decorating taste is to have three "firmly" established "guidelines":
  1. Rescue and repurpose whenever possible
  2. Surround yourself with things that make you smile
  3. There are no rules or wrong answers in this kind of decorating

The exciting thing about decorating a Studio is that you can take this decorating philosophy to its furthest extreme if you is a grown-up playroom you are creating after all! For my purposes, I will likely keep it comfortable and colorful and inspirational, but functional too. Speaking of function, what exactly does a primarily digital artist need with a Studio anyway..?

Well, I have A LOT of projects-in-waiting that require more space than just the kitchen table to tackle properly. Here are a couple of examples of the type of rescuing and repurposing I was referring to in Guideline #1...





I have BOXES and BOXES of stuff like this...

...that I want to craft into things like this...

Now WHAT I am going to do with these projects once they are complete is still somewhat unclear. For sure, I will be creating gifts for family and friends. In addition, perhaps I will open a booth/space again in a local antique store/flea market...? Perhaps I will have semi-annual Studio shows/sales...? Perhaps I will participate in various art/crafts shows here and there..? Perhaps I will sell online...? Perhaps I will develop patterns and/or submit ideas to crafts magazines. I really don't have a real clear direction yet, but I know the Lord knows. I'm counting on Him to direct my path...right now I am just certain of one thing - I am supposed to create...

So, that covers the "why" question - next comes "how?" I have decided that I will paint the walls a soft buttery yellow - very much like the walls in my space at Whispering Willow last year...

From a practical standpoint, my Studio will need to accommodate this china cabinet (which has been in storage for months) - I love its soft yellow definitely helped me to decide on yellow as the main color for the room.
I will also be fitting this dresser into the space...more cottage goodness. I'm sure I'll break down and paint/shabby it eventually...

Below are some other items that may find their way onto my Studio walls and into its nooks and crannies...this is a photo of one corner of my Studio in my previous home...I have a fairly large collection of vintage framed crewel/needlepoint/cross-stitch pieces that I have collected for years (this is just a few of them). I love crowding them all together on a wall... I'm sure the yellow lamp will fit right in as well. The dark bookcases (I have 2) are being used in our office in the mobile home currently. They will likely stay there, so I will be on the hunt, via Craigslist and garage sales, for more shelving for the Studio. Coming up with clever (cheap) storage ideas will be one of my biggest challenges...

Here is another view of my previous Studio - I will still be using the big desk on the left as my primary desk...

This past weekend sweet hubby and I went to a local church rummage sale - it was a really good one...great prices! I was blessed to find 8 matching creamy lace valances for just $2 total! I needed exactly 8 for the Studio (3 each on the two double window sets and 2 on the single window) , and there they were! ( I LOVE it when that happens!!) - I found some other goodies too that I will share in a future post...


I've talked about "why" and "how" - now let's give you an update on "when"... The water heater episode ended up burning up the better part of the day on Thursday, so hubby has only had time to finish the insulation...the paneling and painting will have to wait until this week's time off. I STILL believe we can have it all finished by the end of August!!??!! I can't wait!!


I'll share more Studio inspiration pieces as I gather them, Lord-willing...thanks for taking that little tour with me!! I hope you'll come back often to see the progress... You are ALWAYS more than welcome here!